Part Two Bath Historical Society opens addition

In the first of this pair of stories listeners learned about the May 11th event in Warm Springs introducing a new addition to an old building.

“We want local people to come in and examine the history of Bath County.  Take a look at what we have.”

Bath County Historical Society President, Richard Armstrong talked about not only what the local organization can do for you, but also what you can do for the Historical Society.

“We have a wonderful genealogy research library.  We have staff people that can help you find your family. That’s one of our most popular things that we get. Also if you have items in your attics, in your trunks, anywhere that pertains to the history of Bath County, if you don’t want to donate them, at least let us make a copy or a scan of the items so we can, as I like to say, preserve our past for the future.”

Rick’s commitment to that value has been long-held, and part of sharing it, is being an author himself.  I asked him where his inspiration came from.

“I first became interested in the Civil War period as a teenager.  My grandmother came to live with us, and her father had been a confederate soldier, and I was encouraged to be quiet.  So I developed an interest in the Civil War period, and particularly Bath County.  And one of the first books I took a look at was Morton’s “Annals of Bath”, and it has a small chapter on the war.  And I thought to myself ‘There’s got to be more.’  So, as a teenager, I set out to find out what ‘more’ was.”

And then like many historians, he learned there was a whole lot more.

For about the next sixteen years, including on personal breaks during his time in the military, Armstrong researched battles and campaigns waged in the 1860s, particularly in this region.

“I wrote my first book in 1986, on the ambush at Williamsville.  From that I went into part of the Virginia Regimental History series, that was done by H.E. Howard in Lynchburg.”

His books include one each on the Battles of McDowell, of Lewisburg in Greenbrier County, and of Rich Mountain.  In total there are fourteen volumes. One is about a niter and mining corps, who were the units keeping the army supplied with minerals and metals needed for gunpowder and ammunition.  I asked what might be next in this author’s future.

“Down the road,  I have another niter and mining corps book for Allegheny, Greenbrier, and Monroe Counties, West Virginia and Virginia.

And who knows where else I’ll be led to do something.  I have fifty years worth of research records compiled, just have to sit down and put it together.”

Until then Rick is looking over details to make the new addition and old displays at the Historical Society ready for the public on Saturday, May 11th.  The museum welcomes all visitors, long-time residents, history buffs, and the just averagely curious, from 2 until 5 o’clock in the afternoon.  Refreshments are provided, and  everyone is encouraged to explore the whole building, and see just how deep you can dig into your own past, and that of Bath County too.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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